What ever happened to good old American ingenuity? It’s alive and well, in the world of boats – and these inventive boat repairs will keep your fishing machine running strong.
Each and every time you leave the dock there’s a pretty good chance something unexpected will happen, whether it’s an issue with your boat fuel system, problematic electrical connections, or bait tank troubles.
The question is, will you be ready to resolve the issue on the spot? You will – just as long as you use a little creative thinking, and keep weird boat repair fix-its like these in the back of your mind.
You detect a strange noise in your outboard, but you can’t identify its exact source? You need a stethoscope… or at least, a screwdriver. Simply hold a screwdriver handle up to your ear, then place the tip of the screwdriver on different parts of the engine. Vibrations will travel through your non-traditional listening device right to your ear drum, and isolating the strange sound will be easy.
A problematic zipper on your canvass is causing issues? Zippers and snaps corrode, jam, and stick, and can become a major hassle. Boats with Bimini tops and zip-out, snap-in clear plastic windows are especially problematic. But some inventive boater discovered that if you rub down the zippers and snaps with a regular wax candle, they will open and close much easier. Why not just use oil? Two reasons: if your zippers are plastic it can discolor them, and snaps tend to be over-lubricated by oil and fail to secure well after treatment. No such problems, with candle power.
Liquid electrical tape is sticky, gooey stuff that often makes a mess, but it also has a long list of useful — though somewhat strange — marine applications. Yeah, sure, you can use it to seal electrical connections. It works great for that task. But this stuff also is excellent for temporarily sealing up tiny holes or cracks in rubbery fuel lines. You can also use it to mark mooring lines. Just paint it on where your lines meet the cleat, and you’ll never have to re-adjust them again. What’s that dripping on your head? A hole must have worn through your canvass T-top. No problem; just goop some liquid electrical tape up there. It’s thick enough to cover small holes, and it’ll stick to canvass for weeks if not months.
Let’s say one of the boat’s raw water intakes has clogged with seaweed, a plastic bag, or who knows what. It’s too deep under the hull to safely jump overboard and reach around to clear? No problem. All you need is a length of hose that’s long enough to reach from the seacock to above the waterline. In some cases it’s already attached and all you need to do is remove the other end. In other cases, you may need to cut a length of hose, close the seacock, swap it out for the hose that’s already there, then re-open the seacock. Either way, once you can stretch the hose straight up and down, you need a ramrod. A bent hanger, a tape measure, or any rigid object with a rigging needle duct-taped to the end will work. Use it to clear out the clog from inside the boat, then replace the original hose and you’re good to go.
Yikes! Some careless angler just put a shallow ding in your beautiful teak! Don’t freak out, it may be an easy repair (though you’ll want to do this one back at the dock). Wipe it with a wet rag, to first get the wood damp. Then run a hot iron over it. Between the heat and the moisture, the wood will swell back into shape.
The Hole Story
Let’s say there’s a broken through hull fitting… or you hit a rock… or you accidentally discharged your magnum .44 through the bottom of your boat because that mako shark that was flopping around on the deck looked really angry… For whatever reason, Mom’s Mink is now taking on water. What will you reach for? A potato, of course. Potatoes have the perfect consistency to jam into a hole, get stuck there, and plug it even when under pressure. So always keep a potato in the fridge and the next time there’s a hole in your hole in the water, remember to fix it the weird way – by wedging in a chunk of raw potato.
Okay, admittedly a few of these tips (errr, all of them) are a bit strange.
But they’ve all also been proven effective at sea. And that proves, once again, that nothing can beat good old American ingenuity.